|WACO - Longview kept its pace Saturday against a highly-touted Vandegrift defense.
The turning point, however, came from the Lobo defense.
Jacob Johnson pulled down his second interception in as many weeks, sparking a 21-0 finish from the Lobo offense in a 56-28 win over Vandegrift in a Class 6A, Division II, Region II semifinal at Baylor's McLane Stadium.
With the win, Longview moves to 13-0 for the first time since 1997 and will take on Spring Westfield, who moved to 12-1 on the season on Friday night with a 35-16 win over Mesquite Horn, in the Region II final with a time and place to be determined.
Longview found themselves trailing for the first time this postseason in the first half on Saturday, 14-7 and then 21-14, before taking a 28-21 lead into halftime.
The Lobos went up two scores to open the third quarter before Vandegrift (12-1) responded with a big answer for a one-score game, 35-28, with 7:05 left in the third quarter.
Johnson's pick - the first of four turnovers forced by the Lobo defense from there - set up a 21-0 run from the Lobos, who have eight forced turnovers in the past two playoff games.
Meanwhile, the Lobo offense rolled.
Longview put up 56 points - 32 more than any other team on the Vipers' schedule this season - and finished with 529 yards of total offense, the most in the playoffs that features the Lobos outscoring opponents, 189-67.
Haynes King turned in his second-straight five-touchdown night, finishing 13-of-16 passing for 247 yards and three touchdowns and adding two scores on the ground on a season-high 14 carries for 92 yards.
Jessie Anderson hit paydirt twice on runs of seven and 16 yards and Keilyn Williams added an eight-yard touchdown run in a 15-carry, 111-yard night, his fourth 100-yard game of the season.
Williams, whose eight-yard run following Johnson's interception prompted the Lobo band to start the fight song early, added a six-yard touchdown haul, his sixth of the season.
Kamden Perry finished with his ninth 100-yard receiving game of the season with eight catches for 139 yards, including a dagger 51-yard catch-and-run score. Kaden Kearbey had two catches for 77 yards, including a 48-yard score.
"I think it started up front," Longview head coach John King said. "Those kids did a good job of picking up all the twists in the run game and protected the quarterback.
"I think Haynes had time to throw and the receivers did their job from there. We've got two backs that run really well and feed off one another. It takes 11 in the unit but I think the offensive line play was as good as we could've hoped tonight for with what we saw."
Defensively, Michael Martin and Ja'Vontae Writt recovered fumbles and Robert Pierce nabbed his second interception in as many games and fifth overall. Tyshawn Taylor and Sawyer Goram-Welch had tackles for loss at key moments and Isiah Rodgers was solid in coverage.
Vandegrift finished with 279 yards of total offense - 131 rushing on 26 attempts and 148 passing. The Vipers finished 2-of-10 on third-down conversion attempts.
"Defensively, we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties and busted assignments but we settled in to what they were doing and made some adjustments," King said. "The penalties hurt us but I was proud of the way we played through it and sometimes that's not easy to do in this environment.
"We've been able to get the ball back for the offense to do their thing. It's been big for us. It takes everyone with the pressure we're getting from our defensive line and the linebackers playing well."
It wasn't all pretty for the Lobos with two first-half fumbles, a muffed kickoff catch and three overall and 10 penalties for 85 yards.
It started, however, strong.
King hit Williams for 23 yards and had a 16-yard run on a methodical 12-play, 71-yard drive that chewed up 5:29 off the clock to start the game. King capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
"We were going to do what we had to and if it was something they gave us, we were going to do it," King said of Haynes King running the ball. "We felt like we could run him a little bit with how they lined up and what they were trying to take away.
"I thought (Lobo offensive coordinator) Chris Vallery did an excellent job of getting the plan together for that."
Vandegrift answered - aided by an offsides call on 4th and 1 and a personal foul - with a 10-play, 74-yard drive for a 7-7 tie withe 2:24 left in the first quarter.
A muffed kickoff return led to the Vipers' second score, coming in 12 seconds off the clock, and a 14-7 lead.
King hit Kearbey for 29 yards and Anderson pounded in a seven-yard score for a 14-14 tie after the first quarter.
The Vipers went back up, 21-14, on on a 90-yard march before King's 14-yard run tied things again, 21-all, with 5:34 left in the first half.
Then came the first defensive stop either way, a three-and-out forced by the Lobo defense. Rodgers smothered the intended receiver on third-and-10, forcing a Viper punt.
The Lobo defense back Longview's first lost fumble by forcing a turnover on downs at the Longview 41.
Williams had a 27-yard run and then caught a rollout pass from King from six yards away for a 28-21 Longview lead at halftime.
The Vipers punted for the second time to start the third quarter and Kearbey was wide open on a 48-yard touchdown pass from King for a two-score lead.
Two penalties from the Lobos enabled a big answer from the Vipers on a 5-play, 72-yard drive to make it 35-28.
Longview then punted for the first time - and eighth time of the season - before Johnson picked off a pass.
Williams had an eight-yard run, the Lobo defense forced another punt and King dropped the dagger on a 51-yard scoring pass to Perry, who spun a tackle to hit the endzone.
Writt and Martin sealed the win with two fumble recoveries the rest of the way to send Longview to victory formation for the 13th time this season.